Built in 1963 by English nature enthusiast, Sam Popham, the unique arboretum is created by utilising seven and a half acres of shrub jungle, and has expanded to add another 27 acres to the original arboretum. Thus, making it Sri Lanka’s only dry-zone arboretum that boasts of an array of trees, birds, butterflies and other mammals. The many notable floral species that dwell in the nature reserve are Ebony, Palu, Margosa, Weera, Milla, Tamarind, Velan and Ceylon Iron Wood to name but a few. In addition to the bountiful flora, the arboretum is also known to attract many faunae, such as the Spotted Deer, Wild Boar, Porcupine, Mouse Deer, Black Naped Hare, Rock Squirrels, and the rare Slender Loris. Many birds are also known to take refuge in the treetops, such as the Jungle Magpie Robins, Jungle Fowl, the Red vented and Black capped Bulbuls, Black headed Orioles, Crimson backed Woodpeckers, Brown headed Barbets, Black headed Orioles, Paradise Flycatchers, Flower Peckers, Sun Birds, Tailor Birds, Parakeets, and Eagles.
The winding nature trails are great to engage in a night walk or night safari, as many animals can be witnessed from afar without disturbing their habitat, making for a unique experience to the nature enthusiast.